An empty passenger launch, MV Adventure-9, caught fire at 11 am on Sunday at Sadarghat Launch Terminal in the capital, burning more than 150 cabins.
There was no casualty as the fire erupted several hours after the passengers of the launch, docked at Sadarghat, disembarked.
Dhaka River Port Joint Director Gulzar Ali said the launch left Barisal on Saturday night and reached Sadarghat on Sunday morning. After the passengers got down, the launch was docked at pontoon number 5 of the launch terminal. The launch crews were resting. Suddenly fire erupted in the launch, but no one could confirm how it started.
Fire Service and Civil Defense Deputy Director Dinomoni Sharma said, "We spoke to eyewitnesses and initially learned that the fire originated from the air conditioner of a cabin on the third floor of the launch. However, the details will be known after investigation."
He said, "A four-member committee has been formed to investigate the incident. The committee will submit the probe report within seven working days."
There was no casualty as none of the launch staff was present in the area where the fire erupted. More than 150 cabins were gutted, he added.
Adventure-9 owner Nizam Uddin said, "The fire started from the VIP cabin area which usually remains closed after passengers disembark. The launch was not gutted totally as it has adequate fire equipment."
Just three months earlier, a fire broke out in the early hours of 24 December on MV Abhijan-10, killing at least 47 people and injuring 70. The fire broke out on the Sugandha River in Jhalakathi while the launch was heading to Barguna from Dhaka.
Later, a Shipping Ministry investigation found that the launch was using an engine with three times more horsepower than the original one to run faster, causing extreme temperature and ultimately burning the diesel container.